After lunch, stroll out the front door onto Fifth Street and hang a right to arrive at Pershing Square and the beautifully restored Millennium Biltmore, another L.A. landmark. In the winter time, there’s a small ice skating rink at Pershing Square where you can take the kids for an afternoon of activity.
If you are with the kids, head back for an early hamburger dinner at Rowdy Red Wine and Burger Bar in the City National Plaza across the street from the hotel, but if it’s just adults, though, go for a more European dinner later at the upscale Italian Drago Centro, which features homemade pastas and an incredible wine list.
Starting back at the hotel, walk a block west, and you’ll hit one of downtown’s main arteries, Figueroa. Go south on it to find some other great eateries like the nouvelle Mexican Rivera, which features an amazing tequila menu, or the California-only wine bar, Corkbar which is actually just a few blocks east on 12th Street. You also might want to duck into the Hotel Figueroa at the corner of Olympic to check out the Moorish-inspired architecture, or have a refreshing drink out by the pool in back.
Farther down Fig, as it’s known to locals, you’ll arrive at the new L.A. Live complex of concert venues, restaurants and shops, as well as the soon-to-open Ritz-Carlton and JW Marriott hotels.
For a little culture, you’ll want to start at the hotel and head north on Flower, make a right on Fifth, then a left on Grand and walk a few blocks to check out the latest exhibit at Los Angeles’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). Another two blocks will bring you to Frank Gehry’s dramatic, metallic Disney Concert Hall, home of the L.A. Philharmonic, and then just a block past that is the Los Angeles Music Center, where you can catch the opera at Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, or see a play at the Ahmanson Theater or the Mark Taper Forum. Finally, at the end of one more block, on the other side of the street, you’ll find the angular Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels with its soaring belltower.
Though most folks tend to come to Los Angeles for the sunny beaches or the Hollywood hoards, a stay downtown is just as enriching an experience, especially with rates at the Standard starting at $164.